7 December 2012

Liberia: Anti - Corruption Fight Gets Boost

The Director of the Center for Transparency and Accountability (CENTRAL) Mr. Thomas Nah Doe has disclosed the good news worth celebrating this year is that Liberia has been names as the third out of countries in Africa on the 2012 Transparency International Perception chart, with Cape Verde and Ghana taking the first and second places.

Speaking at the regular Thursday press briefing of the Ministry of Information, Culture Affairs and Tourism (MICAT) at the Charles Gbenyon Hall of the Information Ministry yesterday, mr. Nah Doe said that the fight against corruption has jumped mainly because oiver the past six years the Government has put in place a number of interventions.

The CENTRAL bos named the passing into law of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, the enactment of the Public Procurement and and Concession Commission (PCC) Act, putting in place mechanisms to reinforce good governance and financial accountability frameworks in the public sector, the reconciliation and decentralization and various law reform instruments, the GSA regulations, law and land reforms.

He said globally Liberia came out 75 out of 165 regulations, adding that over the past six years Liberia has been making steady progress as in 2011 Liberia was ranked 91 and this year the 75th position which is a cause for celebrations, although corruption remains a critical issue to be addressed.

He noted that laws are important, but it is meaningless to make laws without implementing them, noting that to pass laws is easy but to implement them is something very difficult. "If we can implement all the laws passed, there is no reason why Liberia cannot be number one on the global transparency list.

Mr. Nah Doe reiterated that Liberia is still a fragile state and many times people tend to focus on human rights as an aspect of transparency. "Corruption tends to undermine the fabric of the state. The transparency picture in Liberia is still not rosy enough. Liberians have the strength to make this country a great country, as Liberia became the first Republic and has also been the first to elect a female president", he said.

According to the CENTRAL boss, it is a collective responsibility of Liberians to fight corruption and not the responsibility of government alone. "We must fight corruption with a collective effort as the fight against corruption is fundamental to poverty reduction," he said.

In an answer to a reporter's question, Mr. Doe said that it is not that the pilfering of state resources has reduced, but there is a need for the Liberia Anti Corruption Commission (LACC) to be robust enough, as in the process of fighting corruption, one has to zero on a process. "The point is that when we begin to engage and to analyze, we are on the right trajectory. We have to look at corruption from the perceptive of petty and grand corruption," he said.

He said Liberians must recognize progress by the works that they do, but he is optimistic that the government and all Liberians need to dom k0ore to make the country better in the fight against corruption.

Delivering the closing remarks, the Acting Minister of Information Mrf. Norris Tweah said what they at the ministry of Information are trying to do is to find a platform to work together, adding that they will need to remain focused and committed. He cited President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as having said that corruption is public enemy number one'.

He said Liberia is making gradual steps to craft the laws and to implement them. "Transparency International has acknowledged that we e doing well, but we need to do more. We are closing on Ghana and last year Gambia was ahead of us but this year we have beaten them" he said.

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